Jul. 5, 2012
Garrett County suffered “some of the most extensive damage we’ve seen from a storm event,” reported Brad Frantz, director of Garrett County Public Safety and Emergency Management, during a special briefing for the county commissioners on Tuesday morning.
A derecho – a rare string of powerful storms with intense lightening, rain, and hurricane-force winds – swept through the Midwest and mid-Atlantic region Friday (June 29) evening. According to some accounts, at least 22 people were killed, 5 million were left without power, and billions of dollars worth of damages occurred.
“We were quite fortunate that there were not more structures that had impact,” Frantz said. “We had one reported on Savage River Road that was significant damage.”
Three trees fell on a home, one of which landed in a bedroom. The house was insured, according to Frantz.
The director said 1,114 county electric power customers remained without service as of Tuesday at 7 a.m., but he anticipated that power would be restored to most of these customers by the end of the day.
As of Thursday morning, Potomac Edison reports that 140 Garrett County residences are still without power. Those without electricity in surrounding counties are as follows: Allegany, 1,225; Preston 2,421; Tucker 185; Grant 117; Mineral, 117; and Somerset, 7.
Utility companies have been working around the clock, since the storm hit Garrett County at 8:20 p.m. on June 29, Frantz said. Potomac Edison reported 147,000 of its area customers had lost power from the storm.
Frantz noted that nearly every fire department in the county spent the weekend clearing roads of trees and debris, and as of Monday, all roads in the county were open.
Cooling centers/shelters were established Saturday morning and remain available this week to residents at the Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department, the Deer Park Community Volunteer Fire Department, and the Southern Garrett Rescue Squad hall, according to Frantz.
At the impact of the sudden storm – with winds exceeding 65 miles per hour in some areas, according to Potomac Edison – Frantz said telephone calls into 9-1-1 were 300-400 percent above normal call volume.
“On a normal day, we might see 75 calls,” he said.
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